Baja, Mexico, is a long stretch of beach running from California on the North, almost the entire length of Mexico, going south, which makes it look like a long island separating the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California, stretching eastward toward the huge landmass of Mexico. This is where almost every kind of Mexican seafood can be found — around the island of Baja, MX.
Fresh seafood markets are set up at every fishing port and village, large or small. Even retail chains such as Walmart in Baja Norte, Rosarito Beach, offers an entire Seafood section in their super-store, with fresh-caught fish on ice, shellfish, pre-made and customized sushi trays, or anything else seafood-related.
Mexican Seafood Cooking Tips
When cooking up your favorite seafood into traditional Mexican dishes, there are a few things you need to know before you begin. First, seafood should not be seasoned spicy, or you lose the delicate flavors. So, maybe just a pinch of salt to allow the other ingredients to carry the spicy seasonings.
Second, always use a “mild” green or red salsa. Mix chopped tomatoes to any “mild” red sauce, to make it less hot. Another alternative is a homemade lime, cilantro, and cream sauce.
Third, garnish with all the chopped chives, cilantro, parsley, or olives you’d like. You could also sprinkle grated Pepper-Jack cheese over any Mexican seafood dish – that’s all the seasoning you will need.
Mexican Seafood: Enchiladas Del Mar
Enchiladas del Mar is Spanish for Seafood Enchiladas, and if you like seafood, it’s the most fantastic dish you will ever enjoy! As a precaution, I always precook my meats or seafood before rolling into flour tortillas, then dousing them with salsa, grated cheeses, and baking – just until the cheese melts.
Using lightly precooked shellfish such as crabmeat, lobster, shrimp, or flaked pieces of BBQ fish fillet, with Jack cheese (queso blanco) and a little seasoned rice, roll up into flour tortillas. Place side-by-side in a baking dish and pour “mild” green salsa over all the enchilada rolls. Cover with a deep layer of grated cheese, and bake in the oven at 400 degrees, only until the cheese has melted (approximately 10 minutes).
Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and garnish with your choice of toppings. I’ve used chopped sprigs of cilantro and chives (green onions) and olives. Served up with refried black beans, lime wedges, and avocado slices.
Mexican Seafood: BBQ Catch of the Day
Real simple fixings for any Baja-family BBQ gathering.
Wrap fillets of deep-sea catches like Tilapia, Red Snapper, Tuna, Sea Bass (or your favorite), add mild salsa plus other veggies, and a squeeze of lime juice, (as shown) in foil, tightly.
Depending on the BBQ temps, fish will only require 5 minutes on each side – no longer!
The fish will flake tenderly with a tasty hint of salsa, and the veggies will cook at the same time.
Serve with seasoned rice, refried beans, and lime wedges. This dish is so flavorful and healthy that almost everyone wants seconds.
Ceviche Seafood Salad
Ceviche is a combination of shrimp, crab, or other shellfish.
You could even just cut up fillet pieces of deep-sea catches (as listed above), left overnight to cook in lemon or lime juices.
The citrus juice will actually cook your seafood without overcooking it.
The next day, combine your ceviche mixture with chopped tomatoes, diced avocados, and serve over a bed of lettuce.
A cool refreshing seafood salad for those hot summer days.
Expats, what is the seafood like in your host country? Did you catch it yourself, and how did you cook it up? Tell us about it!
by: Cheri Majors, M.S.